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Media Artist: Salary and Career Facts

Media artists use images, sounds and words to create advertisements, television shows, websites or other related productions. Read on to find out which academic programs can prepare you for media work, along with career options and salary information.

What Is a Media Artist?

As a media artist, your purpose is to express thoughts, ideas and images through platforms related to video, audio, print and digital media. They often collaborate with a team to create visuals, special effects and/or animations for projects, such as video games, commercials, print ads, websites or television shows. They use advanced computer software after hand-making a layout of their concept and make adjustments based on their client's feedback. They often have a concentration in a particular area. Learn some more details about this career in the table below:

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Graphic Design, Digital Art, Drawing
Key Responsibilities Hand-draw or use computer programs to create art pieces and images to be used in ads, on shows and in commercials
Job Growth (2018-2028) 4% growth (for all multimedia artists and animators)
Median Salary (2018) $72,520 (for all multimedia artists and animators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Where Can I Find Work in the Field?

If you decide to work as a media artist, you might find a position in a variety of fields. You could find work as an artist or art director for an advertising or commercial firm. In such a position, you are responsible for creating the art seen in print and commercial advertisements. You'll often work with creative directors or account executives to determine the artistic approach to take on a particular project. You might also find a similar position creating artistic pieces for magazines and print publications.

Another possibility would be a position as a media artist for movies, television programs or computer games. You can apply your artistic skills towards creating storyboards or visualizing set pieces. Similarly, you might find a position working for an animation studio.

What Educational Programs Are Available?

Different educational paths might prepare you to become a media artist. You might enroll in any bachelor's degree program related to drawing, painting, digital art or graphic design. You might also complete a more generalized Bachelor of Fine Arts or Master of Fine Arts program.

While enrolled in a degree program related to fine arts, you will learn the basic artistic processes of painting, drawing and sculpting. You will also study the concepts of color theory, line and dimension. You might consider selecting a media arts program that offers courses in video production, audio production, computer graphics or graphic design, which might also prepare you for a position as a media artist.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia artists and animators held 28,560 positions across the country in 2018. Some of the top-paying industries were equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, and motion pictures. The BLS reported a median annual salary in 2018 of $72,520 for all multimedia artists and animators.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers include graphic designers, art directors and computer programmers. Graphic designers produce visual projects for all kinds of entities, including publications. Art directors oversee the execution of visual works for media and products, like newspapers. Computer programmers write and test code, along with design software and applications.